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Jul 17, 2023

The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney: Protecting Your Rights

In many legal proceedings, representing yourself is a practical option. Perhaps you have gone to.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney: Protecting Your Rights

In many legal proceedings, representing yourself is a practical option. Perhaps you have gone to court before but did not hire a lawyer. You do not need a lawyer when you challenge a traffic ticket, apply for a marriage license, or act as the personal representative of a deceased family member’s estate during probate. Criminal cases are different. Even if things do not go your way in court, criminal cases are the only time where things not going your way can result in you going to prison and losing the right to vote until after you have completed your sentence.

Likewise, the standard of evidence is different in criminal cases; defendants must only establish reasonable doubt in order to be acquitted. Therefore, representation by a criminal defense attorney is of the utmost importance in criminal cases; it is so important, in fact, that the court will appoint a public defender to represent defendants who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers. A Tempe  criminal law attorney can help you avoid a conviction if you are facing criminal charges in Arizona.

Representation by a Criminal Defense Attorney During Questioning and Investigations

Whenever the police arrest a defendant, they must inform him or her of the rights of defendants in criminal cases; this recitation of rights is sometimes called the Miranda warning. One of these rights is the right not to answer questions from police except when a defense attorney is present and after consulting privately with your attorney. You should always have a thorough and honest conversation with a criminal defense attorney before you answer any questions from the police. In many cases, your first conversation with your lawyer will determine the course of your case, and it will be a relief to know the worst-case scenario you are envisioning will not become a reality.

You can even hire a criminal defense lawyer if you have not been arrested or charged with a crime. If there is a civil or criminal investigation taking place regarding events and people known to you, the court may call you for a deposition or seek a warrant to search your documents or devices. A criminal defense attorney can advise you about when to plead the Fifth Amendment and what to do to avoid getting accused of tampering with evidence.

Resolving Your Case Without Going to Trial

Criminal trials, real and fictional, make for interesting movie plots, but most criminal cases do not go to trial. After you talk to your lawyer about the events that led to your arrest, your lawyer might say that it is obvious to any reasonable person that you are innocent or that the police had no good reason to arrest you or conduct a traffic stop. In this case, your strategy will focus on persuading the state to drop the charges or dismiss the case. In other cases, you and your lawyer might agree that there is ample evidence that you broke the law. In that case, your strategy will focus on plea deals to reduce your charges and eventual sentence.

“I Didn’t Do it” is Not the Only Possible Defense

If you go to trial, you must prove one of two things; either you must show reasonable doubt about the claims the prosecution is making, or you must show that the state was only able to collect the evidence against you by violating your legal rights. In the former case, you may do this by presenting evidence and witness testimony that contradicts what the prosecution is saying, or your lawyer may present a different interpretation of the prosecution’s evidence. In the latter case, you may show that police illegally searched your property or that the state violated your right to due process at some point in the course of your case.

Why Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney if a Public Defender Will Represent You for Free?

The state will appoint a public defender to represent you if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer.  Public defenders have graduated from law school and are doing what they do in order to help people who cannot afford to pay for legal services and to build their professional reputations by helping falsely accused defendants avoid convictions. If you can possibly afford it, though, you should hire your own lawyer. Each public defender has at least twice as many cases at any given time as the average criminal defense attorney in private practice. By hiring your own lawyer, you can ensure that your lawyer has more resources to devote to your case.

Contact Singular Law Group About Criminal Cases

A criminal law attorney can help you avoid a conviction or a harsh sentence if you are being charged with a crime. Contact Singular Law Group PLLC in Tempe, Arizona, to set up a consultation.

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